Family members say he died at his home Sunday morning.
For more than 30 years he gave America a reason to stay up late. Born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska, Johnny Carson began entertaining audiences at an early age.
First as a magician, later as a radio personality, Carson eventually made the switch to TV, hosting a number of variety and game shows. In 1958 Carson got a chance to fill in for then “Tonight Show” host Jack Paar. Four years later it became a full time gig. Night after night millions tuned in to watch his opening monologue, trademark golf swing, celebrity guests, and an array of characters played by Carson, including "Carnac the Magnificent."
Ed McMahon was Carson's “Tonight Show” sidekick. McMahan says, "If television was ever invented for somebody, it was invented for him."
In 1992, after more than 4,500 “Tonight Show” episodes, Carson retired. His final guest, Bette Midler, offered a very memorable farewell.
Though Carson made it look easy on TV, his personal life was anything but. Family hardships included three divorces. Carson's love for his audience though never waned.
On his last show Carson said, "I'm one of the lucky people in the world. I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight."
Carson is survived by his wife Alexis and his sons Christopher and Cory from his first marriage to Jody Wolcott.